By Sports Reporter Doha
This edition is particularly
special for Al Shaqab, as it marks its 25th anniversary
Top riders from all over the world will come to Al Shaqab in March to compete in the 5th edition of CHI AL SHAQAB, which will take place from March 2–4, 2017 at its state-of-the-art facilities in Doha, Qatar.
The 5th edition of the prestigious equestrian competition will see top-ranking local, regional and international riders compete in Show Jumping CSI 3*and 5*, Dressage CDI 5*, and Para-Dressage CPEDI 3*.
The event, which is open to the public, will also include a host of entertainment activities aimed at inspiring young riders, trainers, officials and equestrian enthusiasts and contributing to a legacy of appreciation of the sport.
This year’s event is particularly special for Al Shaqab, as it marks its 25th anniversary.
A special ceremony on the March 3 is being planned to commemorate the occasion, combining a world-class competition with a keen appreciation of Qatari heritage.
“The Arab world has a very rich equine heritage, and through events such as this, Al Shaqab preserves and perpetuates that aspect of Qatari culture. CHI Al Shaqab significantly contributes to the international equestrian and business community, demonstrating Qatar’s role as a global sporting destination,’’ said Khalifa al-Attiya, Al Shaqab Executive Director.
Members of the Qatari royal family, as well as local and international VIPs within the equine sport and business world, will be in attendance.
Omar al-Mannai, Event Director, CHI Al Shaqab, said: “The fifth edition of CHI Al Shaqab is shaping up to be the best one yet, with record participation expected. The equestrian competitions always attract the crowds, and this year is particularly special because of Al Shaqab’s 25th-anniversary celebration.”
He added: “The international interest in CHI Al Shaqab is very good for Qatar and the region as a whole. It creates a valuable dynamic between many stakeholders, including businesses, tourism and equestrian industries, as well as an array of cultural entities.”
Top ranked riders will be competing at CHI Al Shaqab, including Sheikh Ali bin Khalid al-Thani, who represented Qatar and was placed sixth in show-jumping at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He also carried Qatar’s flag in the Parade of Nations at the opening ceremony.
Other top-ranked riders who will be competing in the show-jumping events are world number one Daniel Deusser (Germany), who finished second in last year’s Grand Prix at CHI Al Shaqab; second-ranked Christian Ahlmann (Germany), who finished third in the 2016 Grand Prix; and Simon Delestre (France), currently ranked fifth in the world.
Patrick Kittel (Sweden) won both the Grand Prix and the Freestyle test at Al Shaqab last year, and he’ll look to repeat the feat in 2017. Other dressage riders to watch include Carl Hester (United Kingdom), the world’s number five, and Inessa Merkulova (Russia), ranked sixth. Several riders will be defending their 2016 crowns in para-dressage, including 1b winner Nicole Den Dulk (Netherlands), II winner Rixt van der Horst (Netherlands), and Philippa Johnson-Dwyer (South Africa), who won the III.
The Spectator Plaza will offer visitors an array of food and beverage stands, in addition to a dedicated family entertainment zone featuring interactive video games, virtual reality sets, F1 and horse simulators, face painters, illusionists pony rides and a day-care centre for toddlers. A range of cultural activities are also planned, including henna painters, falcon handlers and traditional food to enable visitors to experience Qatari hospitality.
“I am very pleased to announce on behalf of ExxonMobil Qatar the fifth year of our partnership with CHI Al Shaqab,” said Alistair Routledge, President and General Manager for ExxonMobil Qatar. “We are proud to support this world-class equestrian event and the Al Shaqab Equine Education Center. The Center inspires students to reach their full potential helping to foster a confident and skilled generation that will contribute to the Qatar National Vision 2030, a vision we at ExxonMobil Qatar are committed to help fulfil.”
“We look forward to another incredible CHI event at the world-class Al Shaqab equestrian center with the best national and international horses and riders battling for one of the most coveted titles in the equestrian calendar. CHI Al Shaqab promises entertainment to spectators from Qatar and beyond, year after year,” he added.
CHI Al Shaqab 2017 is one of only three international annual equestrian competitions that showcases three or more equestrian disciplines in one event. By hosting events such as CHI Al Shaqab 2017, Al Shaqab supports the Qatar Foundation Vision 2030, which aims to promote Qatar as a premier international sports destination.
There are several ticketing options for interested spectators. Adult general admission is QAR35, and QAR15 for children. VIP tickets include VIP seating on the second floor of the arena, complimentary all-day 5-star catering, exclusive entrance, and VIP valet parking; single-day VIP tickets start from QAR1,000 for adults and QAR500 for children. Three-day VIP packages are also available, at QAR2,500 for adults and QAR1,250 for children. For tickets, please visit www.q-tickets.com.
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